2019 AHEAD Conference Program Highlights

As you look through the wide variety of concurrent and poster presentations offered this year, you’ll see distinctive icons flagging sessions that focus on highlighted conference topics. We encourage you use this information to enhance your conference experience and to focus your attendance if you are looking for a specific emphasis in your professional development.

Anti-Ableism Caucausing

Wednesday,  July 10, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Disabled DS Provider Caucus
Teryn Robinson, M.Ed., Lake Forest College
Elizabeth (liz) Thomson, M.A., University of Illinois Chicago

Non-Disabled DS Provider Caucus
Jen Dugger, M.A., Portland State University
Melanie Thornton, M.A., University of Arkansas

We are all affected by institutional ableism, and we must work together to dismantle it. This session will be split into two: one group for DS providers who identify as disabled, having disabilities, or having a lack of privilege to do with ability, health, and/or navigating systems and barriers; the other for DS providers who identify as non-disabled or who have non-disabled privilege. This division of DS providers into separate groups provides an environment and intention to critically engage in dialogue about how disability-related power and privilege (or the lack thereof) impact each of us, and how that impact is then felt by the students and colleagues with whom we work. Both groups will discuss strategies for liberation and change. All participants will come together in the final hour.


Friday, July 12 and Saturday, July 13, 8:00 am - 8:45 am

Start your day with four dynamic Talks inspired by the famous TED Talks and enjoy a morning coffee or tea with colleagues. AHEAD Talks are personal story-like presentations designed to have impact the audience on a personal level, providing insights, inspiration, and an opportunity for reflection. This year’s Talks include:

  • Can You Really Understand Me?
  • Our Goal is Not Compliance - and Why Yours Shouldn’t be Either
  • Stewards of the Profession: Educating the Future Leaders of Campus Accessibility and Inclusion
  • Pursuing Discomfort: Experiencing Growth and Peace by Finding and Embracing the Uncomfortable

Featured Presentations

Thursday, July 11, 3:30 - 5:00 pm

Twice during the conference, we’ll highlight popular presentations on important and emerging issues. The following sessions will be offered with minimal competition and in large venues to allow for large audiences:

  • OCR Year in Review; Mary Lou Mobley, Office of Civil Rights
  • Everyday Ableism - Exploring Disability Bias and Microaggressions
  • Universal Design for Learning: Accessible To ALL
  • The Dance of Coaching: How to Support Parents Who Want to Cut In?
  • Online Access & Accommodations: We've Been There, Done That
  • Legal Year in Review
  • Know Your WHY to Excel at Your WHAT
  • Building a Campus-Wide Universal Design Framework from the Ground Up

Get the Most of AHEAD!

Over lunch on Saturday (12:45-1:45), join us for a walk-through of AHEAD resources:

Gavin Steiger, M.J.Ed., University of Houston Clear Lake
Jane Johnston, Manager of Membership, AHEAD

If you are new to AHEAD or disability resources/services in higher education or wanting to learn more about AHEAD’s resources, this meeting is for you! Representatives from AHEAD's Membership Stakeholder Group, leaders, and staff will share the many resources available through AHEAD. We’ll highlight AHEAD, highlighting online communities and resources, professional development events, and networking opportunities.

The 70273 Project in the Exhibit Hall

The 70273 Project At last year’s conference, AHEAD members participated in an international project to honor the lives of more than 70,273 disabled people deemed “life unworthy of life” by the Nazis.  AHEAD members created enough quilt blocks to make two quilts. The finished quilts, also pieced together and finished by AHEAD members, return to the Boston conference. Thank you to all those who participated! Learn more at http://www.the70273project.org

Sensory Room Sponsored by the Autism/Aspergers SIG

The Sensory Room at the AHEAD conference last year was a great demonstration of how easy and inexpensive it can be to create a similar space on your campus. Therefore, we are pleased that the Autism/Asperger’s Special Interest Group will again set up such a space and answer questions on autism.  

Sensory rooms or meditation rooms are useful in residence halls, student centers, academic buildings and are often used by students, staff and faculty, who use them to calm themselves. On one campus, a reduction in conduct code violations was cited when the sensory room opened in a residence hall. As this year’s space demonstrates, rooms do not need to be large or expensive. However, you will want to find a quieter space than we could for this year’s model space. Please talk with a member of the Autism/Asperger’s SIG for more information and alternatives.